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ARE SUPERWEEDS AN OUTGROWTH OF USDA

BIOTECH POLICY? (PART I)

HEARING
BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON DOMESTIC POLICY


OF THE

COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT
AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION
JULY 28, 2010

Serial No. 111158


Printed for the use of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

(
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ARE SUPERWEEDS AN OUTGROWTH OF USDA BIOTECH POLICY? (PART I)11

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ARE SUPERWEEDS AN OUTGROWTH OF USDA


BIOTECH POLICY? (PART I)

HEARING
BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON DOMESTIC POLICY


OF THE

COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT
AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION
JULY 28, 2010

Serial No. 111158


Printed for the use of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

(
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.fdsys.gov
http://www.oversight.house.gov

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE


WASHINGTON

65559 PDF

2011

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office


Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 5121800; DC area (202) 5121800
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COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM


EDOLPHUS TOWNS,
PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania
CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio
JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts
WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri
DIANE E. WATSON, California
STEPHEN F. LYNCH, Massachusetts
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MIKE QUIGLEY, Illinois
MARCY KAPTUR, Ohio
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of
Columbia
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
DANNY K. DAVIS, Illinois
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
HENRY CUELLAR, Texas
PAUL W. HODES, New Hampshire
CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
PETER WELCH, Vermont
BILL FOSTER, Illinois
JACKIE SPEIER, California
STEVE DRIEHAUS, Ohio
JUDY CHU, California

New York, Chairman


DARRELL E. ISSA, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JOHN J. DUNCAN, JR., Tennessee
MICHAEL R. TURNER, Ohio
LYNN A. WESTMORELAND, Georgia
PATRICK T. MCHENRY, North Carolina
BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California
JIM JORDAN, Ohio
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
JASON CHAFFETZ, Utah
AARON SCHOCK, Illinois
BLAINE LUETKEMEYER, Missouri
ANH JOSEPH CAO, Louisiana
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania

RON STROMAN, Staff Director


MICHAEL MCCARTHY, Deputy Staff Director
CARLA HULTBERG, Chief Clerk
LARRY BRADY, Minority Staff Director

SUBCOMMITTEE

ON

DOMESTIC POLICY

DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio, Chairman


ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
JIM JORDAN, Ohio
JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts
DAN BURTON, Indiana
DIANE E. WATSON, California
MICHAEL R. TURNER, Ohio
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
AARON SCHOCK, Illinois
PETER WELCH, Vermont

BILL FOSTER, Illinois
MARCY KAPTUR, California
JARON R. BOURKE, Staff Director

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CONTENTS
Page

Hearing held on July 28, 2010 ...............................................................................


Statement of:
Roush, Troy, farmer, Van Buren, IN, vice president, American Corn
Growers Association; Micheal D.K. Owen, Ph.D., professor of agronomy,
Iowa State University; Stephen C. Weller, professor of horticulture,
Purdue University; David A. Mortensen, professor of weed ecology,
Pennsylvania State University; and Andrew Kimbrell, executive director, Center for Food Safety ...........................................................................
Kimbrell, Andrew ......................................................................................
Mortensen, David A. .................................................................................
Owen, Micheal D.K. ..................................................................................
Roush, Troy ................................................................................................
Weller, Stephen C. ....................................................................................
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Jordan, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from the State of Ohio,
prepared statement of ...................................................................................
Kaptur, Hon. Marcy, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Ohio:
Article dated May 3, 2010 ................................................................................
H.R. 3299 ...........................................................................................................
Kimbrell, Andrew, executive director, Center for Food Safety, prepared
statement of ...................................................................................................
Kucinich, Hon. Dennis J., a Representative in Congress from the State
of Ohio, prepared statement of ....................................................................
Mortensen,, David A. professor of weed ecology, Pennsylvania State University, prepared statement of .....................................................................
Owen, Micheal D.K., Ph.D., professor of agronomy, Iowa State University,
prepared statement of ...................................................................................
Roush, Troy, farmer, Van Buren, IN, vice president, American Corn
Growers Association, prepared statement of ..............................................
Weller, Stephen C., professor of horticulture, Purdue University, prepared
statement of ...................................................................................................

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ARE SUPERWEEDS AN OUTGROWTH OF USDA


BIOTECH POLICY? (PART I)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 2010

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DOMESTIC POLICY,
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM,
Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 p.m., in room
2154, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Dennis J.
Kucinich (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Kucinich, Cummings, Foster, Kaptur,
Jordan, and Schock.
Staff present: Jaron R. Bourke, staff director; Justin Baker,
clerk/policy analyst; Leneal Scott, IT specialist, full committee; Justin LoFranco, minority press assistant and clerk; and Marvin
Kaplan, minority counsel.
Mr. KUCINICH. The Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will now come to
order.
Farmers have known for years that a potentially devastating
problem was growing in their fields: weeds that herbicides may not
be able to control. To provide a visual demonstration of the problem
that this hearing addresses, I ask that you look at the monitors for
an excerpt from an ABC News segment that ran last year.
[Video shown.]
Mr. KUCINICH. Todays hearing is the first held by Congress to
examine the environmental impact of the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds in fields growing genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops. This is also the first day of a two-part hearing. We
will hear from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in September.
Without objection, the Chair and ranking minority member will
have 5 minutes to make opening statements, followed by opening
statements not to exceed 3 minutes by any other Member who
seeks recognition. And without objection, Members and witnesses
may have 5 legislative days to submit written statements or extraneous materials for the record.
In farm fields across the Southeast and Midwest, a new crop has
been sprouting among the rows of genetically engineered, Roundup
Ready soy, corn and cotton. Familiar weeds have rapidly evolved
a significant new trait: they can no longer be controlled by the herbicide Roundup. Herbicide resistant weeds such as pigweed,
horseweed, water hemp, giant ragweed, palmer amaranth and common lambs quarters, have infested millions of acres of prime farm
land. Some can grow three inches per day, reach a height of seven
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feet, and have stalks as thick as baseball bats. They can destroy
farm equipment.
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed the commercialization of Roundup Ready crops, the results were supposed to
be bigger yields, better profits for farmers and less pollution from
herbicides. Though it has been little more than 10 years, for many
farmers these promised benefits seem like a distant memory. The
natural selection of herbicide-resistant weeds in farm fields growing Roundup Ready crops is an indirect negative consequence of a
technology that was purported to be nearly miraculous. And it is
totally canceling out the alleged benefits of genetically engineered
herbicide-resistant crops.
Rather than fewer herbicides, farmers have been using more herbicides and more toxic ones. In fact, Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of Roundup, spent years erroneously advising farmers to exclusively use ever greater quantities of Roundup to control the
weeds in their fields. And for years, farmers listened.
Meanwhile, these weeds were receiving evolutionary pressure to
select for a trait of resistance to Roundup. The Roundup-resistant
trait is now dominant in weeds growing in many areas of the country.
The introduction of genetically engineered plants is regulated by
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA pursuant to its authority under the Plant Protection Act. Where was
the USDA while the weed problem that imperils modern agriculture practices was developing? In courtrooms across the country,
USDA has been rebuked for having unreasonably and arbitrarily
dismissed the environmental consequences of deregulating genetically engineered crops. In some cases, Federal judges have found
that the USDA could produce no written record that it had ever
considered the impact on farmers.
Thus, a Federal district court invalidated USDAs decision to deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa. USDA is now awaiting further directions from a Federal judge before taking further steps to consider whether and on what terms to deregulate this crop.
Since taking office, Secretary Vilsack has promised that the new
administration would take a fresh look at biotech crop policy. But
the biotech industry isnt waiting for new policy. Chemical industry
giants, such as Dow, BASF and Syngenta are plowing forward with
new varieties of soy, corn and cotton. They are already asking
USDA to deregulate seed varieties that have been genetically engineered to tolerate their own herbicides.
In fact, the evolution of Roundup-resistant weeds, while a problem for Monsanto, has been an opportunity for other large chemical
companies.
The immediate consequences of the deregulation and planting of
these multiple herbicide-tolerant crops will be the increase in use
of more toxic herbicides. Dicamba and 2,4-D are more toxic than
Roundup and their increased use can only be regarded as a setback
for sustainable agriculture.
In the longer term, the herbicide resistance of the weeds themselves could further change. If Roundup-resistant weeds evolved in
only 10 years, could multiple-herbicide-resistant weeds be far
away? I am going to ask that question again. If Roundup-resistant

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weeds evolved in only 10 years, could multiple-herbicide-resistant
weeds be far away?
Indeed, several species of weeds already exhibit multiple-herbicide resistance. The development of more multi-herbicide-resistant
weeds possess a very serious threat to agriculture in the United
States as we know it. The increased expense for mechanical and
hand labor to remove herbicide-resistant crops on todays colossal
farms could be cost prohibitive, potentially wreaking havoc on modern farming.
Until now, the USDA has deregulated without condition every
herbicide-resistant seed variety that industry has produced. Will
that pattern continue in the future? Does the USDA have the legal
authority to attach conditions and restrictions or even to block the
commercialization of genetically engineered herbicide-resistant
crops? Will that agency use that authority?
Farmers have a long-term investment in their chief asset, their
land. Chemical companies operate on a shorter horizon. Natures
reaction to farm practices since the introduction and marketing of
genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops has created a temporary opportunity for chemical companies, an opportunity they
will pursue at the long-term expense of the Nations farmers.
Now more than ever, farmers need a Department of Agriculture
that takes care to preserve and protect the farming environment
for generations to come.
I now recognize the ranking minority member from Ohio, Mr.
Jordan.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Dennis J. Kucinich follows:]

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10
Mr. JORDAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I should have cleared this with the chairman first. I am just
going to enter my statement into the record, if that is OK with the
chairman.
Mr. KUCINICH. Without objection.
Mr. JORDAN. I know our member, Congressman Schock, has a
statement that he would like to make at the appropriate time.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Jim Jordan follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. Did you want to yield to him?
Mr. JORDAN. I would be happy to yield to the gentleman.
Mr. KUCINICH. OK, we will enter your statement into the record
and you can yield to him.
Mr. JORDAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield to the Member
from Illinois.
Mr. SCHOCK. Thank you, Mr. Jordan. Chairman Kucinich, I
thank you for the opportunity to provide these opening remarks. As
a Member of Congress who represents one of the 60 ag-dominant
districts in the United States, this issue is of particularly great importance to the constituents I represent.
I would also like to thank our witnesses who traveled with us
here today and are going to be testifying.
Before I begin, I would like to ask for unanimous consent to insert for the record a copy of remarks by the Illinois Farm Bureau
and the Illinois Corn Growers, expressing shared concern about additional Government regulation of our Nations farmers.
Mr. KUCINICH. Without objection.
Mr. SCHOCK. Thank you.
The title of todays hearing confuses me even more than the underlying premise. The attempt to link advancements to help farmers produce greater yields, become commercially viable and better
stewards of their land and the environment to some sort of habitat
negligence is totally befuddling to me. The underlying premise of
this hearing is that farmers across this country are not employing
the best management practices on their fields.
According to these assumptions, they have no concern about their
long-term economic and environmental sustainabilty and are thus
destroying their fields and the environment. With this view, only
new Government regulation can combat these weeds.
I understand the purpose of this hearing is to reaffirm this belief,
that by some unnatural process the use of genetically engineered
seeds and the use of weed repellent have led to some unnatural
superweed. Yet the facts couldnt be further from the truth.
U.S. growers have been growing herbicide-tolerant crops and
using herbicides to control weeds for almost 60 years. Since 1980,
90 percent of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States
have been herbicide-tolerant, grown in fields treated with herbicides. Because U.S. growers have been using herbicides for almost
60 years, they have been dealing with herbicide resistant for almost 50 years. Certain weed species will inevitably become resistant to some herbicides or any other control methodology, for that
matter.
Neither the Government nor the grower can prevent resistance
from occurring. Rather, they can employ those best management
practices which will help them stay two steps ahead of the next
generation of weeds, while remaining economically viable and successful.
If the goal today is to end the use of science and technology in
the industry of agriculture, I would ask, how will the U.S. agriculture continue to play a role in feeding the worlds 612 billion
people? Surely we cant do that by going in reverse and employing
practices which will put our farming community at a competitive
disadvantage.

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In reality, I would argue the market controls already in place are
more than enough to ensure farmers are employing the best practices to control herbicide-resistant weed growth on their fields. It
is actually our farmers, not the Government, who are more concerned about the development of new herbicide-resistant weeds.
And it is this concern which has already prompted them to employ
crop and herbicide rotation and other best management practices
to combat any weeds at the first sign of growth.
The farmer who employs these practices will lose less of his yield
to weeds and be more profitable in the long run. And the farmer
who doesnt, well, he wont be a farmer for very long. The fact of
the matter is that farmers yield more efficient growth from fields
than ever before. They have done this during the same period of
time which these purported superweeds have begun taking over.
Farmers realize that over-use or reliance on any single product
to mitigate weed growth quickly results in the need to use a new
and more expensive product. As such, it is already in their own financial interests to rotate weed mitigation techniques.
In addition, the agriculture industry realizes that is in the best
interest to mitigate extraneous weed growth as they spend tens of
millions of dollars developing these products. In order to obtain return on their investments, these companies seek the use of their
products over a long period of time. Selling an herbicide product
that proves to be effective for only a few years is not a way to stay
in business.
The laws of nature tell us that weeds will naturally become tolerant to any single mitigation practice. So why would we limit those
practices a farmer may employ? What we should be talking about
here is ensuring our farmers have all the tools necessary, the most
complete playbook to mitigate weed growth, and not limit their options.
The real question here today seems to be, how much should we
be regulating human behavior, and at what point do we say there
are enough Government regulations and market controls in place
that we can trust humans faced with a myriad of incentives to
make the right decisions? Will there always be a handful of bad actors? Absolutely. But does that mean the Government should reach
further into the lives of every farmer across the country with more
regulations? I dont think so.
Do we tell a person how many calories he can consume each day
or how many miles he or she can drive, or how long he can stay
out in the sun? No. Rather, we try to educate our citizens with all
the facts available about the decisions they are making, providing
them with the tools necessary to make the right decisions. But ultimately, those decisions are theirs. We leave it up to each citizen
to employ that practice, which will best ensure his or her long-term
health, or in this case, their economic sustainabilty.
I yield back.
Ms. KUCINICH. The Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Ohio,
Ms. Kaptur.
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you very much
for holding this hearing today. This is an issue in which I have
been interested for a long time, particularly the exorbitant fees
charged to farmers who use these various products to try to control

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weeds on their property. And we have tried to find ways to make
the costs more bearable. I have a bill to do that.
And we see how unfair it is to many of our farmers when, if
crops are planted in Latin America, lets say, versus here, and the
fees are different, what a difference that makes in bottom lines
here.
We are also coming from the Lake Erie area very interested in
the long-term impact of the use of these products on our soil and
ultimately on Lake Erie, our life source, because of the unexplained
now-growing amount of algal blooms that are on Lake Erie. Some
are hypothesizing it has to do with the fact that no-till has been
used to such an extent that certain minerals do not break down in
the soil in the same manner as if one tilled. And there are all kinds
of theories now as to why we are getting these enormous algal
blooms in Lake Erie and eutrophic areas for the first time, when
we dont have oxygen in certain areas of the lake.
So we are looking at the connection between field agriculture, I
live in the soybean bowl in the western basin of Lake Erie. And
so we are trying to really understand the connection between crop
practices, water flows, the health of the lake and the connection between herbicides and the long-term health of both the farm fields
that the farmers are stewarding and then the water systems that
serve us. I am not sure anyone completely understands it yet, but
we know that there is something happening out there that is atypical.
So we thank you very much for holding this hearing today and
we look forward to the witnesses testimony.
Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentlelady.
Mr. Foster is recognized for 3 minutes.
Mr. FOSTER. Thank you. As a scientist and a businessman, I
think what is needed here is a mature understanding of the situations in which the socialized risk of badly used mitigation controls
is something that really makes it best for the Government to step
in and regulate things. This is a very complicated thing. This is not
an example of a situation where the free market incentives get the
right idea. You can look at situations like just vaccines and antibiotic resistant bacteria as something where there are big socialized risks if individuals do not conduct proper control and proper
use of these agents.
The other thing that concerns me about just letting the market
do everything is the long time scale for developing agents that will
continue to work as phenomenally well as the Roundup Ready varieties and the Roundup itself have well into the future. One of the
things that I am worried about is that there actually hasnt been
enough incentive to develop a variety of substitutes for Roundupresistant crops and Roundup itself.
So I think that is something where we have to actually look at
the science of this thing and understand, make our best estimate
of how things are going to develop over time. In situations where
you dont see the free market developing the right set of products
that will have the huge, that will continue the huge economic and
environmental benefits that we have seen from these, then I think
that is something where the Government actually has a legitimate
role to step in and to nudge people in the right direction.

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I look forward to the testimony and thank the chairman and
yield back.
Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman.
I want to continue by introducing our panel. Mr. Troy Roush is
a fifth-generation farmer from central Indiana. The farm is located
outside Van Buren in Grant County, approximately 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis. He farms on the same farm he was born and
raised on with his father and two younger brothers. They grow
corn, soybeans, wheat, popcorn, alfalfa and tomatoes on their 5,500
acre diversified farming operation. Mr. Roush also serves as vice
president of the American Corn Growers Association.
Professor Micheal Owen has a Ph.D. in agronomy and weed
science from the University of Illinois. He is associate chair and an
extension weed scientist in the Department of Agronomy of Iowa
State University. He has extensive expertise in weed dynamics, integrated pest management and crop risk management. His objective in extension program is to develop information about weed biology, ecology and herbicides that can be used by growers to manage weeds with cost-efficiency and environmental sensitivity. His
work is focused on supportive management systems that emphasize
a combination of alternative strategies and conventional technologies.
Dr. Owen has published extensively on farm-level attitudes toward trans-genic crops and their impacts, selection pressure, herbicide resistance and other weed life history traits and tillage practices. He recently served on the National Research Council Committee on the Impact of Biotechnology on Farm Level Economics
and Sustainabilty.
Professor Stephen Weller is professor of weed science in the Department of Horticulture and has been at Purdue University for 30
years. He has responsibilities for research, teaching and extension
and has taught courses in weed science, organic horticulture product and for 22 years was coordinator of the Purdue University herbicide action course. Research interests include weed biology, herbicide mode of action, resistance mechanisms to herbicides in crops
and weeds, non-chemical weed management and integrated weed
management vegetable crops.
He has extensive international experience working on integrated
pest management and vegetable cropping systems in the developing world. Dr. Weller co-authored the text, Weed Science: Principles and Practices, Fourth Edition, seven book chapters, over 70
referred journal articles, over 100 research abstracts and 35 miscellaneous research extension publications.
Professor David Mortensen has advanced degrees in ecology and
agronomy from Duke and North Carolina State University. He has
worked in the field of weed management and ecology for the past
23 years in Midwestern agriculture at the University of Nebraska
and in the Eastern United States at Penn State, where he currently holds a full professorship in the Department of Crop and
Soil Sciences.
Professor Mortensen has researched and written widely on integrated methods of weed management, herbicide-resistance management, and the ecology that underpins weedy plant population dynamics. Professor Mortensen is the author of over 120 papers and

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book chapters on this body of research. He has also chaired the
flagship National Competitive Grants Program in weed or integrated pest management four times in the past 10 years. Most recently in 2009, he chaired the Weedy and Invasive Organisms
Competitive Grants Program with the USDA.
Finally, Mr. Andrew Kimbrell is founder and executive director
of the Center for Food Safety in the International Center for Technology Assessment in Washington, DC. He is one of the countrys
leading environmental attorneys and an author of numerous books
and articles on environment, technology, society and food issues.
His books include 101 Ways to Help Save the Earth; The Human
Body Shop; The Engineering and Marketing of Life; Your Right To
Know; Genetic Engineering and Secret Changes in Your Food; and
general editor of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture.
His articles on law, technology, social and psychological issues
have also appeared in numerous law reviews, technology journals,
popular magazines and newspapers across the country. He has
been featured in numerous documentaries including the film The
Future of Food. In 1994, the Aetna Reader named Mr. Kimbrell as
one of the worlds leading 100 visionaries. In 2007, he was named
one of the 50 people most likely to save the planet by the Guardian
U.K.
I want to thank each and every one of our witnesses for being
here. It is the policy of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to swear in all witnesses before they testify. I ask
that you rise and raise your right hands.
[Witnesses sworn.]
Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much.
Let the record reflect that each and every one of the witnesses
answered in the affirmative.
I would ask that each witness give an oral summary of your testimony, and keep the summary under 5 minutes in duration. Your
entire written statement will be included in the hearing record. So
it is much appreciated that you help us on this.
Mr. Roush, you are the first witness on this panel. We ask that
you begin.
STATEMENT OF TROY ROUSH, FARMER, VAN BUREN, IN, VICE
PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION;
MICHEAL D.K. OWEN, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF AGRONOMY,
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY; STEPHEN C. WELLER, PROFESSOR
OF HORTICULTURE, PURDUE UNIVERSITY; DAVID A.
MORTENSEN, PROFESSOR OF WEED ECOLOGY, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY; AND ANDREW KIMBRELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY
STATEMENT OF TROY ROUSH

Mr. ROUSH. Thank you. Good afternoon, Chairman Kucinich,


Ranking Member Jordan and members of the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Domestic
Policy.
Before beginning my testimony, I want to thank the Chair for
this invitation to address the issue of glyphosate-tolerant weeds

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and the crisis that it presents to U.S. farmers and American agriculture.
My name is Troy Roush. I farm 5,500 acres with my father and
brothers in Central Indiana. We grow soybeans, corn, wheat, both
conventional and organic, as well as popcorn and tomatoes. I also
serve as Vice President of the American Corn Growers Association.
I am here today to discuss how glyphosate-tolerant weeds affect my
farming operation and many others in production agriculture.
I have been using genetically engineered soybeans since 2000,
when a lawsuit for patent infringement against my family was
dropped by Monsanto. After having endured 2 years of costly litigation that took its toll on my family, we decided that, in order to
protect ourselves from future baseless lawsuits, we would make the
conversion to biotech crops and began using Roundup Ready varieties for our non-organic crops.
During the first few years we were able to rely exclusively on
Roundup Ready technology for weed management, applying
glyphosate for burn-down and again to eliminate weed pressure
after the crop emergence. However, due to problems with
glyphosate tolerant weeds, and skyrocketing costs of Roundup
Ready seeds and the price premiums being paid for non-genetically
engineered soybeans, we have since returned to using conventional
varieties on approximately half of our 2,600 soybean acres. The diminishing effectiveness of glyphosate, as demonstrated in the dramatic increase in glyphosate-tolerant weeds, is devaluing the technology.
Fortunately, Indiana enacted farmer protection laws in 2002
after and because of the lawsuit with Monsanto to prohibit patent
infringement cases where small amounts of genetically engineered
content is detected in crops and fields. Without those protections,
our return to conventional soybean production would have brought
with it the potential of significant risk of patent infringement liability.
After 2005, we first began to encounter problems with
glyphosate-resistant marestail and lambsquarters in both our soybean and corn crops. Since there had been considerable discussion
in the agricultural press about weeds developing resistance or tolerance to Roundup, I contacted a Monsanto weed scientist to discuss the problems I was experiencing on the farm and what could
be done to eradicate the problematic weeds. Despite well-documented proof that glyphosate-tolerant weeds were becoming a significant problem, the Monsanto scientist denied that resistance existed and instructed me to increase my application rates.
The increase in application rates proved ineffectual, and I was
forced to turn to alternative methods for weed management, including the use of tillage and other chemistry. In 2007, the weed problems had gotten so severe that we turned to an ALS inhibitor marketed as Canopy to alleviate the problem in our pre-plant, burndown herbicide application. In 2008, we were forced to include the
use of 2,4-D and an ALS residual in our herbicide programs. Like
most farmers, we are very sensitive to environmental issues and
we were very reluctant to return to using tillage and more toxic
herbicides for weed control. However, no other solutions were then

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or are now readily available for the eradication of weed problems
caused by development of glyphosate resistance.
As I mentioned earlier, I have now returned to the use of conventional soybean varieties for about half my total acreage. That proportion of acreage will increase if supply of quality conventional
seed varieties increases. While conventional soybean varieties have
been very difficult to find, a small number of independent companies are now beginning to respond to demand. Conventional soybean seeds provide significant cost savings as compared to Roundup seeds. This year, Roundup soybeans cost $50 a bag which translates to $65 an acre. The conventional varieties planted from saved
seed are about $15 an acre.
Since the weed management and herbicide costs are now roughly
the same because of resistant Roundup Ready weeds, the difference
seed costs using the conventional variety represents pure profit. I
not only reduced production costs through the use of conventional
soybean varieties, but last year I received a 20 percent price premium on my non-genetically engineered soybeans. Last year that
translated to an additional $80,000 in additional profit.
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Roush, your time has expired. What I would
like you to do is just take a minute to sum up, please.
Mr. ROUSH. Sure.
I guess the subject I want to talk about most is the solution, the
potential solution, which is Dicamba. Anyone who has witnessed or
has any experience with Dicamba has witnessed its volatility. We
are not talking about pesticide drift in this context. I have seen
Dicamba rise from fields, move across the ground, damaging any
vegetables, soybeans, fruit, flowers, gardens in its path. Dicamba
is not widely used by farmers for this reason. Even so, as recently
as 2008, I had Dicamba destroy 20 acres of tomatoes.
Some would argue that it is not Governments role to stifle innovation by regulating the commercialization of these crops. But can
we trust industry to regulate itself? The history of the American
farmers shows that the answer to that question is a resounding no.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Roush follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman for testifying. You will get
an opportunity to get into more of this during questions and answers. As I said, your entire testimony will be included in the
record of the hearing. We very much appreciate your being here.
The Chair recognizes Professor Owen. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF MICHEAL D.K. OWEN

Mr. OWEN. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the


committee. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today
about the economic and environmental effects of the current management of genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops in the
U.S. agriculture.
I served as a member, as noted, of the Committee on the Impact
of Biotechnology on Farm Level Economics and Sustainabilty of the
National Research Council. The Research Council is the operating
arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of
Engineering and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies chartered by Congress in 1863 to advise Government on matters of science and technology.
Genetically engineered crops [GE], with resistance to herbicides,
were introduced in 1996. In 2010, U.S. farmers grew cultivars of
soybean, cotton, corn, canola, and sugar beet with genetically engineered resistance to the herbicide glyphosate. Most herbicide-resistant crops in the United States are resistant to glyphosate, so
I will restrict my remarks to this particular trait. I will focus primarily on experiences with herbicide-resistant weeds and soybean,
cotton and corn production, as these crops are grown on roughly
half of the U.S. crop land.
It should be noted that weeds represent the most economically
damaging pest complex to agriculture and are ubiquitous to all agriculture systems. Crops with resistance to glyphosate have been
widely adopted by growers. With the adoption of these crops, farmers have substituted the use of glyphosate for other herbicides and
weed management tactics, because the resistance allows these
crops to survive glyphosate unharmed.
The adoption of glyphosate-resistant crops facilitated production
practices such as using no tillage practices. Less tillage can improve soil structure and quality, as well as reduce soil erosion,
which enhances water quality. The use of glyphosate in a properly
managed herbicide-resistant crop system is an efficient weed management practice. However, management decisions have resulted in
increased and often exclusive reliance on glyphosate to manage
weeds in GE crop systems and are reducing its effectiveness in
some situations due to the evolved resistance to glyphosate in some
weed species.
Ten weed species in the United States have evolved resistance to
glyphosate since the introduction of glyphosate-resistant crops in
1996. Glyphosate-resistant crops are effectively benign in the environment. Gene flow between herbicide-resistant crops and closely
related weed species does not explain the evolution of resistance in
U.S. fields, because sexually compatible weeds are absent where
corn, cotton and soybean are grown.
Herbicide resistant weeds have historically been a problem in
corn, cotton and soybean. Herbicide resistance is not unique to

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fields with genetically engineered crops. Weeds with either evolved
resistance or natural tolerance will proliferate in any field in which
the practices are used recurrently and ultimately provide the weed
with an ecological advantage.
The concern with glyphosate-resistant crops is that the decision
to use glyphosate year in and year out is accelerating the evolution
of resistant weeds. Growers are already seeing the economic consequences from the proliferation of these resistant weeds. In Delaware, a study showed that glyphosate-resistant horseweed increased most soybean growers costs by at least $2 per acre. And
in a study of 400 corn, soybean and cotton producers from 17
States, growers estimated that glyphosate-resistant weeds increased their costs by $14 to $16 per acre.
To deal with weed problems in these fields, most growers responded that they would increase the frequency of glyphosate applications, they would apply herbicides with different modes of action and increase tillage. The willingness to increase costs to supplement weed management tactics and herbicide-resistant crops indicates that growers value the convenience and simplicity of these
crops without appreciating the long-term ecological and economic
risks.
Growers must adopt more diversified weed management practices, recognize the importance of understanding the biology of the
cropping systems, and give appropriate consideration to more sustainable weed management programs to maintain the effectiveness
of the genetically engineer herbicide-resistant crops.
Most of the economically important glyphosate-resistant weeds
are found in crop fields in the Southeast and Midwest, and the
number of weed species evolving resistance to glyphosate is growing, and the number of locations with glyphosate-resistant weeds
is increasing at a greater rate as the decision to spray more acreage with glyphosate continues.
In summary, though the problems of evolved resistance and weed
shifts are not unique to herbicide-resistant crops, their occurrence
diminishes the effectiveness of weed control practice that has minimal environmental impact. Weed resistance to glyphosate may
cause farmers to return to tillage as a weed management tool and
to use alternative registered herbicides with different environmental characteristics.
A number of new genetically engineered herbicide-resistant varieties are currently under development and may provide growers
with other weed management options when fully commercialized.
However, the sustainabilty of these new GE crops will also be a
function of how the traits are managed. If they are managed in the
same fashion as the current glyphosate-resistant crops, the same
problems of evolved herbicide-resistance and weed shifts will occur.
Therefore, farmers of herbicide-resistant crops should incorporate
more diverse weed management practices. These practices should
be encouraged through collaborative efforts by Federal and State
government agencies, private sector technology developers, universities and farmer organizations to develop cost-effective resistant
management programs and practices that preserve effective weed
control in herbicide-resistant crops.

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I invite the committee to read my submitted statement and the
National Research Councils recent report, The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainabilty in the United
States, for greater detail on this topic than I have had time to
present today. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Owen follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much.
Professor Weller.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN C. WELLER

Mr. WELLER. Thank you, Chairman Kucinich and members of


the committee, for inviting me to be a witness today before the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
I am going to quickly summarize my written testimony and I
want to mention that in addition to the written testimony, there
is an appendix of a paper that contains much more detail than
some of that testimony includes.
Basically, I am here today to provide testimony relating to the
issues before this committee as stated in the invitation letter involving genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops and the environmental impact of the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds.
Additionally, I have been asked to provide testimony on the relationship between adoption of genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops and the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds, the rapidity with which certain economically significant weeds have
evolved their herbicide resistance, the incidence, risk and implications for farming and herbicide usage of multiple-herbicide resistance in weeds and economic and other consequences for farming
and farming practices caused by the evolution of herbicide-resistant
weeds.
I will do my best, related to my area of expertise in weed science,
to address any questions that are asked of me in addition to my
written testimony.
I feel the issues we face in this regard include the overriding
issues of the need to farm in a manner that allows high productivity capacity of quality and nutritious food in a manner that minimizes negative environmental impacts, farming that is sustainable
for the long term and is acceptable to society.
In a broader sense, all farmers face the challenge of managing
pests and the introduction of genetically engineered herbicide-resistant crops was a response to this in regard to weeds. The question before us today is whether these crops have made herbicide resistance in weeds such a problem that we have selected for what
some people call superweeds, or what I say, weeds resistant to a
particular herbicide or resistant to more than one herbicide.
The basis of my written testimony addresses the following issues:
the positive impact that glyphosate-resistant crop plants and the
use of glyphosate for weed management has had on improving global production efficiency by providing effective management of
weeds. Second glyphosate-resistant weeds are evolving within the
eco-agrosystem by adapting to high selection pressures imposed by
crop production practices, which is no different than with conventional crops and with other herbicides.
Third, the impact of glyphosate-resistant crops on weed communities is not directly attributed to the use of the crop, but rather
an indirect effect of the grower management of the crops and
weeds.
Fourth, the rapid adoption of genetically engineered glyphosateresistant crops occurred because glyphosate effectively controls

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most of the economically important weeds and simplifies weed
management tactics, resulting in both increase of income and other
benefits to the grower. The widespread use of genetically engineered glyphosate-resistant technology has facilitated greater adoption of no-till systems that conserve soil and energy resources and
reduce environmental impacts, as well as improve the time management for farmers.
Sixth, the widespread adoption of genetically engineered
glyphosate-resistant crops has resulted in the grower deciding to
simplify weed management to the applications of only glyphosate
in many instances. This weed management approach results in imposing considerable selection pressure on weed communities.
However, in recent years, grower awareness for the need for appropriate management tactics, integrated tactics that have been developed over the last 60 years by weed scientists in association
with farmers has increased and growers are moving toward a better understanding of the implications of their herbicide use practices in order to improve sustainabilty of the system.
Seventh, glyphosate-resistant weed populations can be and are
effectively managed by using other herbicides and/or changing cultural practices. I feel the issues as stated will be supported by
much of the testimony we hear before this committee. The adoption
of glyphosate-resistant cropping systems has changed agriculture
weed management, long-term sustainability based on better weed
control, better use of resources, dramatic increases in no-till agriculture, to the benefit of soil conservation and improved safety of
water.
The important issue here is not that genetically engineered
glyphosate-resistant crops are the cause of herbicide resistance in
weeds, but these crops are an additional tool in the array of tools
that we have developed over the last 60 years to manage weeds in
agriculture. There are challenges to be addressed when these crops
are used, but they can be addressed in a proactive manner without
jeopardizing this technology.
The key in my mind is related to aggressively meeting the educational and resource challenges necessary to implement sustainable glyphosate-resistant based crop systems. Paramount to meeting this challenge is the need to develop consistent and clearly articulated science-based management recommendations that enable
farmers to reduce the potential for herbicide-resistant weeds to
evolve, and to understand better the ecology and genetics of these
and all weeds.
A proactive, integrated and well-funded educational and research
based approach to better manage weeds in all crops, including genetically engineered glyphosate-resistant crops, can minimize the
widespread evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds and weeds resistant to other herbicides and the result and potential loss of these
technologies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for offering me the opportunity to speak before you today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weller follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you.
Professor Mortensen, you may proceed for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF DAVID A. MORTENSEN

Mr. MORTENSEN. Thanks also for the invitation to present here


today. It is a profoundly meaningful invitation for me, and a first
one.
The problem of glyphosate resistance is a real and serious one.
I wont repeat some of the things that have been said about the
species that have evolved resistance. But it is not just a species
count. It is also the area of crop land that is being affected, and
the comment that a few bad actors is something that maybe we can
address. I think we need to take a look at what the extent of the
problem is.
I estimate that the resistance problem has spread to some 10
million to 11 million acres, adding some $1 billion to control costs
in the current growing season. These estimates, my estimates,
seem conservative when seeing recent reports by agri-chemical
manufacturers in the last month that project 38 million acres will
be infested by Roundup resistant weeds by 2013, a Syngenta estimate, and half of all weed species will be resistant by 2018, a
Bayer scientist.
To put a face on the problem, I would like to turn to a recent
Farm Press article that appeared in the Southeast Farm Press, a
Georgia newspaper, where a weed scientist that a number of us
know indicated that in 2005, the first case of pigweed resistant to
glyphosate was confirmed in the middle of Georgia. And it was determined to be occupying about 500 acres. The resistant populations have since spread across 52 counties in the State, infesting
more than 1 million acres.
Within the next year or two, Culpepper, the weed scientist, estimates that the entire State, all of the counties, will be infested.
Growers went from spending $25 per acre for weed control costs in
cotton in the State of Georgia a few years ago to $60 to $100 per
acre now. At the end of the article, Culpepper argues that herbicides alone often will not provide adequate control, and that an integrated program must be developed to reduce the amount of palmer amaranth, this pigweed plant, from interfering with cotton
growth. He goes on, actually, to indicate the importance of recently
adopted cover cropping practices by cotton farmers in Georgia.
What in my opinion is most disconcerting, actually, is the industrys response to the resistance problem. And that response is to
make crops resistant to multiple herbicides by inserting new genes
that will confer resistance to other active ingredients in addition to
the glyphosate resistance.
It is my estimate, and those of colleagues that I have been working on this that conservative estimates of adoption would result in
a significant increase in herbicide use in soybean and cotton disturbingly through the use of older, higher-use rate herbicides, like
2,4-D and Dicamba. It is our estimate that if these were adopted,
we would see an increase in herbicide use by about 70 percent in
soybeans. In the written testimony I give a very detailed accounting of how that figure is arrived at.

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Interestingly, if you look in the written record at the 23rd reference of the piece that I wrote by Peterson and Holting, they provide a very detailed accounting of why these herbicides should not
be used in wheat that has been applied for being released commercially for resistance to glyphosate to move away from the very herbicides that we are going to be using in soybean and cotton as the
justification for approving Roundup resistant wheat.
We were asked also to make any suggestions or recommendations to the committee on what is the Federal Governments role
in this. I have five recommendations. The first is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and APHIS should require that registration of new herbicide trans-gene crop combinations explicitly
address herbicide-resistance management. It is my view that this
is not just another resistance problem, but actually a unique one
in a sense that we have incorporated a gene insert for an herbicide
specifically. We are continuing to ask for new registrations for new
applications for other crops.
No. 2, when a new GE resistance trait allows for an old herbicide, like 2,4-D or Dicamba, to be used in new crops, at new rates
and in novel contexts, EPA and APHIS should work in a coordinated way to ensure that a thorough reassessment of the herbicideactive ingredient occurs in the context of its expanded and novel
use. This reassessment should include explicit consideration of
weed resistance and should be regionally relevant as cropping systems vary across the region and recognize the spatial heterogeneity
of fields, farms and crops produced.
Third, limit repeated use of herbicides in ways that select for resistance or that result in increased reliance on greater amounts of
herbicide to achieve weed control. It is my view that there are ways
that this could be done at the farm level.
Fourth, provide environmental market incentives, possibly
through the Farm Bill, to adopt a broader integration of tactics for
managing weeds. Increasingly, farmers are adopting cover crops,
crop rotations and novel selective methods of cultivation for weed
suppression.
And fifth, transgene seed and associated herbicides should, in my
view, be taxed and proceeds used to fund and implement research
and education aimed at advancing ecologically based integrated
weed management. Some of you may be aware that we recently
saw a major cut in public funding for weed research. I have been
struggling personally to think about ways that can be restored.
Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Mortensen follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Kimbrell, you may proceed for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF ANDREW KIMBRELL

Mr. KIMBRELL. Thank you, Chairman Kucinich, Ranking Member


Jordan and the members of the committee and subcommittee, for
allowing me to testify today. I am very grateful for that.
I actually think, ironically, and it gets to my testimony, that the
discussion today, which is very informative, and I am learning a
lot, and I am sure the written statements are probably the, not
probably, certainly the greatest investigation of this issue that has
yet taken place. And certainly greater than anything done at the
USDA or the EPA, to my knowledge. So I thank you for that.
I would argue that what we see before us in this problem that
has been described today is not an act of nature, or an act of God,
but an act of an agency. That agency that related through acts of
omission has caused this problem. That agency is the USDA and
specifically APHIS, as you mentioned earlier, Chairman.
I want to just quickly go through, if I could, sort of the litany
of what has happened here. In 2005, the IG office audited APHIS
work on GE field trials. The only way you could summarize that
report is that APHIS was grossly negligent in providing information and gathering information about those field trials that would
be valuable to assess both gene flow and the superweed problem.
Unfortunately, APHIS did not take those recommendations into
consideration, and less than 1 year later, Bayers Liberty Link,
from a field trial, from a small field trial, contaminated rice
throughout the Southern States of this country, costing farmers
over $1 billion, $1 billion, in losses. Now, having numerous lawsuits, class action lawsuits since then against Bayer, the last five
that I know of have been successful, but nowhere near recouping
that loss.
Because of that, USDA came up with a document called Lessons
Learned. Well, they may have been lessons learned, but they
werent lessons that were then executed. As a matter of fact, they
implemented none of their own suggestions. Essentially in the 2008
Farm Bill, in the Farm Bill as enacted, were those recommendations saying the USDA, these are your own lessons learned about
gathering information, about looking at superweeds, about looking
at gene flow, about looking at the economic impacts on farmers.
You did none of that. So you have 18 months to do it, 18 months.
And the Farm Bill, of course, it has long since been 18 months,
and they have not done any of that.
Then the GAO report came out in 2008, GAO report again said,
you are not providing this information on gene flow, you are not
protecting farmers, you are not taking any of the steps that you
were supposed to. And nothing has happened with those GAO recommendations.
So you have the agency, you have the congressional investigative
arm. You have Congress itself in the Farm Bill saying, USDA, get
your act together, you are a dysfunctional agency when it comes to
biotechnology regulation.
But that is not all. Five different lawsuits, judges that have been
appointed by both Republican and Democratic administrations, five

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in a row have come down and said to USDA-APHIS, and it is in
my written testimony, used words like, your approach is absurd,
complete disregard for the law, you have abdicated your responsibilities, and this includes bentgrass, field trials, alfalfa, sugar
beets and biopharmaceuticals. Five times in a row. And these were
unappealed, these parts of the decisions were unappealed.
So we have a rogue agency. And we have an agency that is basically regulating through litigation. The only way they are actually
doing any regulation at all is through litigation.
Now, in 2004, they said they were going to do a programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement on just the issues that we have
heard today. That has never been completed. The courts ordered
them to do an Environmental Impact Statement on genetically engineered bentgrass, Roundup Ready. They have not ever done that,
completed that. They said to the court in Alfalfa, they would do an
Environmental Impact Statement in 2 years. It is now 312 years.
Numerous failed appeals later, and they still havent done it.
So what is the impact of this? Lets take a look. This is not just,
though I am an administrative lawyer, this is not just about administrative law, this has real life impacts as we have heard from
the other folks who have testified today, the scientists. We have environmental harms like superweeds and gene flow contamination of
organic and conventional crops that are allowed to happen without
the protections established by law. And I want to address something Representative Schock said, which is, the whole point of this
is to get the information to policymakers and the public and the
farmers so they can make those educated decisions. When the
USDA fails in that mission, that important information that has
been called for by these scientists today is not forthcoming, and scientists and policymakers and farmers cannot make those educated
decisions.
Additionally, organic and conventional farmers and businesses
relying on these products suffer major economic harm because the
laws are not followed. If past is prologue, then StarLink and Bayer
will end up costing us billions of dollars, as they have in the past,
if this is not remedied at the agency level. Farmers who buy into,
and this has happened with alfalfa, there were sugar beets, we
were there with bentgrass, some farmers who bought into this,
well, USDA approves the product, deregulates the product, some
farmers buy into it, then a court declares that approval illegal.
Well, the farmers are holding the bag. Right now, farmers who
have GE alfalfa, sugar beets, they are in legal limbo, because
courts have declared those crops illegal.
Finally, the businesses themselves, agricultural biotechnology
businesses themselves, are facing liability and financial uncertainty. So all of the actors are affected by this agency, this dysfunctional agency that is unfortunately regulated through litigation. I
think a major thing we have to do, and perhaps we can discus this
later, is how we can through this committee, how we can begin to
address this problem.
Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kimbrell follows:]

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Mr. KUCINICH. I thank all of the gentleman who have testified.
As I said, your entire statement will be included in the record of
the hearing.
Given the complexities of what you present, the Chair and the
ranking member will each have 10 minutes in the first round of
questioning, and other Members will have 5. Then if necessary, we
will go to a second round of questioning of 5 minutes each.
I want to begin with Dr. Weller. Dr. Weller, you were quoted in
a 2001 article about glyphosate-resistant horseweed in the Indianapolis Star as saying, We thought we had a herbicide that was infallible. I think you were speaking here about Monsanto and many
weed scientists who both adored Roundups effectiveness and misjudged the likelihood of evolving Roundup resistant weeds.
How could so many educated people so profoundly misjudge, and
in some cases ignore the law of natural selection?
Mr. WELLER. When the herbicide came out, glyphosate, many
people called it a non-selective herbicide. And I think many people
bought into this fact that it was non-selective. What I mean by that
is, theoretically it would kill all weeds that it was applied to or all
plants that it was applied to.
In fact, glyphosate is a very selective herbicide.
Mr. KUCINICH. So it was mislabeled?
Mr. WELLER. I dont think it was mislabeled. I think there were
many misconceptions that in agriculture uses, it would be very effective.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask you this. You were quoted in a Farm
Press article earlier this year as sayingexcuse me, let me go to
Dr. Owen. You were quoted in a Farm Press article earlier this
year as saying with respect to glyphosate-resistant weeds, Right
now, we are on the edge of a precipice that we could fall off of in
the next 2 years.
Could you explain what that precipice is?
Mr. OWENS. What I was referring to is if we continue to use the
product and the technology in the manner that historically we have
done, we are now at the edge of where the, while the problems in
Iowa are relatively infrequent, they are frequent enough that we
will quickly move into an area where, I dont want to suggest it
would be similar to what the cotton producers in Georgia have experienced, but certainly much greater
Mr. KUCINICH. Which was what?
Mr. OWENS. With the palmer pigweed and their need to grow cotton without tillage and continue to use glyphosate exclusively, they
basically ran themselves out of business.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask you this, Professor Owen, and Professor Mortensen, if you could chime in. Let me read you a comment
that was made by Dow AgroScience scientist, John Chichetta, to
the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled, Superweed Outbreak Triggers Arms Race. It will be a very significant opportunity, it is a new era. What Mr. Chichetta is talking about is that
Dow has a new opportunity to sell 2,4-D and a new variety of 2,4D-tolerant soy, corn and cotton. This opportunity was created by
glyphosate resistance in weeds, a development that hurts Monsanto, a competitor.

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Now, Professor Owen, isnt it true that Dicamba and 2,4-D are
more toxic herbicides than glyphosate?
Mr. OWEN. Based on the EPA regulations, they are considered to
be more toxic.
Mr. KUCINICH. And then Professor Mortensen, Mr. Chichettas
comments reveal the biotech industry is betting on farmers using
more and more toxic herbicides, isnt that right?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes, the quote in the Wall Street Journal, because I was also quoted in the same article, is very disturbing to
me, actually. Because I think it just kind of laid it wide open
that
Mr. KUCINICH. Well, let me ask you
Mr. MORTENSEN [continuing.] Laid open the fact that they are
expecting that this is going to open up a whole new area of research and marketing to combat the glyphosate resistance, yes. I
dont think there is any question about that.
Mr. KUCINICH. Do you have any estimates of how much more
toxic herbicides will be used, Professor Mortensen?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes, in that same article I was quoted, and this
has been something we have been working on for the last year and
a half or so to come up with reasonable estimates, but something
like 58 million pounds more
Mr. KUCINICH. Really?
Mr. MORTENSEN [continuing]. In soybeans alone.
Mr. KUCINICH. You testified that Syngentas Chuck Forsman predicts that 38 million row crop acres will be infested with
glyphosate-resistant weeds by 2013. That is a fourfold increase in
just 3 years.
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes, that is what the quote is. Based on my
best estimates from the WSSA, the Weed Science Society of America reporting site, my best estimates are that since 2007 alone, the
acreage increase of resistant weeds has increased five-fold.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask you this. Bayer crop scientist Harry
Streck cites research suggesting that 50 percent of agricultural
weed species will be glyphosate-resistant by 2018. Now, would you
say, Professor Mortensen, that these industry predictors constitute
what could be described as a catastrophic problem for farmers?
Mr. MORTENSEN. I think it is certainly a very serious problem.
No question. It is a very serious problem.
Mr. KUCINICH. And Mr. Roush, the ability of weeds to select for
herbicide-resistant traits is not a new thing. Isnt it true that the
recent commercialization of crops genetically engineered to be tolerant of certain herbicides has aggravated that problem, precisely because farmers can apply types of herbicide to their land that normally would have killed the crop as well as the intended target, the
weed?
Mr. ROUSH. What it has done is, glyphosate is very cheap.
Mr. KUCINICH. Is that a yes or a no?
Mr. ROUSH. Yes.
Mr. KUCINICH. Well, let me ask you then, because I need your
help on this, Mr. Roush, one Georgia cotton farmer likened the
Roundup resistant weeds choking cotton fields in Georgia to the
boll weevil, which of course was a lethal threat to cotton farming
there. In your opinion, as an Indiana corn and soy farmer, how se-

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rious a threat is herbicide-resistant weeds to farmers, and how serious an environmental threat is the potential solution of using
more and more toxic herbicides?
Mr. ROUSH. Well, the threat is very serious. But quite frankly,
the solution is worse than the threat. Specifically Dicamba. I have
seen Dicamba do terrible things to fruit and vegetable crops. In one
instance, I saw a tomato field, and it was a fan pattern, and the
crop was destroyed. And it was obviously Dicamba damage. No one
could figure it out. We walked up toward a barn, and in this barn
was an open jug of Dicamba. The lid was off of it, a 212 gallon jug.
It had volatized out of the jug and went into thethat is how dangerous this chemical is. It has to be looked at.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask you this as a followup. If you have
glyphosate-resistant, or rather, glyphosate-tolerant crops, inadvertently ushered in glyphosate-tolerant weeds, isnt it likely in the
world as we know it today that the commercialization of multiple
herbicide-resistant crops will similarly facilitate multiple herbicideresistance in weeds?
Mr. ROUSH. That would be likely, yes.
Mr. KUCINICH. And Mr. Kimbrell, what responsibility does the
U.S. Department of Agriculture have for the proliferation of the
superweeds problem?
Mr. KIMBRELL. They bear an enormous responsibility. Under the
Plant Protection Act, they have the authority and they have had
the authority since, remember, they approved, that is deregulated
all the crops we are talking about. And they did all of it without
a single Environmental Impact Statement, despite their commitment that they would do a programmatic Environmental Impact
Statement, which would cover all these issues we are talking
about.
Mr. KUCINICH. Was there any change in the policy under the new
Secretary?
Mr. KIMBRELL. I wish I could give you an optimistic answer, Mr.
Chairman, on that.
Mr. KUCINICH. Well, wait. Is there anything the Obama administration could do differently to prevent the proliferation of
superweeds and the use of more toxic herbicides in farm fields?
Mr. KIMBRELL. Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, how about
doing an actual Environmental Impact Statement that actually
looks at this issue? Again, we are looking at this issue de novo
here, at this subcommittee level. This is the information that
should have gone into the USDA in the 1990s, late 1990s and the
last 10 years, and they should have been making it available to
both policymakers and the farmers. They have not done that. They
have not done that to this day.
As a matter of fact, up to this point, USDA says under the Plant
Protection Act they are either not sure or they are pretty sure they
will not have to do that in their Environmental Impact Statements.
And now courts have ordered on alfalfa and sugar beets. They
admit they now have to look at gene flow. But they are still not
admitting that they need to look at this serious issue in an environmental statement, hoping that they will come out with an EIS
sooner or later.

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Mr. KUCINICH. I thank all the gentlemen for their cooperation in
answering the questions. I now recognize Mr. Jordan for 10 minutes.
Mr. JORDAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate our witnesses. I did notice that we have two Ohio ones and two Members
from Illinois, we have a Purdue and Iowa State and a Penn State
guy here. Fine people, but I am sure we could also add a Buckeye,
maybe one from the Fightinggot a Buckeye background?
Mr. WELLER. I have a masters from Ohio State.
Mr. JORDAN. God bless you, I knew we had to have one in the
crowd. [Laughter.]
Thank you all for joining us.
Let me go to Mr. Owen and Professor Weller and kind of cut to
the chase. How many of the superweeds came through the gene
flow, I think was the term I heard, I am certainly no expert in this
area, but through the gene flow of genetically engineered crops? To
me that seems to be the crux of the matter.
Mr. OWEN. None.
Mr. JORDAN. Am I wrong?
Mr. OWEN. None. There are no sexually compatible weeds with
corn, soybean and cotton in the areas that they are produced. Thus
none of the herbicide resistant, I really do not care for, from an ecological perspective, the term superweeds. So herbicide-resistant
weeds, there is no evidence and no possibility that gene flow could
accommodate the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds in cotton,
corn and soybean.
Mr. JORDAN. OK. Let me ask you this. Is this the first time farmers have had to deal with herbicide-resistant weeds?
Mr. OWEN. Absolutely not. We have had major problems with
herbicide resistance for a number of years. Notably for example, all
of the common waterhemp in Iowa, which is a lot, is functionally
resistant to all ALS inhibitor herbicides. So this is not a new problem that we have been dealing with as weed scientists.
Mr. JORDAN. I want to be clear, and we will get all of the professors. I want to be clear. So farmers were experiencing problems
with herbicide-resistant weeds before we had genetically engineered crops?
Mr. OWEN. Absolutely.
Mr. JORDAN. Care to elaborate, Mr. Weller? I thought you had
something to add.
Mr. WELLER. Do you want me to add?
Mr. JORDAN. No, I think it is pretty plain. So talk to me about
the approval process.
Mr. MORTENSEN. Can I add something?
Mr. JORDAN. Sure.
Mr. MORTENSEN. I think in my view, the point that you raise is
a good one, resistance has been around for a long time. I am trying
to remember back exactly, but atrazine was an herbicide that was
used widely in corn. There were a number of species that evolved
resistance to atrazine.
What in my view is very unique about the problem that we are
addressing today is that we have a crop that was bred to be resistant to an herbicide that it had previously been susceptible to. And
that we now see, and people pay a premium to use that seed. And

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the seed and the herbicide go together as a package. That has not
happened before. And we see 92 percent of the soybean acreage is
of this kind of soybean, and I dont have exact statistics, but 65
percent of the corn and 70 percent of the cotton.
So this is unlike anything we have encountered before in that regard. The scope and the consistent use of something that you are
paying the premium for.
Mr. JORDAN. How recent, and I will let you speak, I know you
want to jump in, Professor, how recent has this whole Roundup
Ready, how recent is this phenomena? Refresh my memory, because I talked with our farmers.
Mr. WELLER. Roundup resistant soybeans were released in 1996.
And corn, no, cotton was 1997, and then corn, 1998. So about 14
years, these crops have been on the market.
Mr. JORDAN. And if you dont go that approach, what would the
farmer have to do different? If he is not going to go the Roundup
Ready approach, are you talking, back when I was a kid, get the
tractor out, cultivate, run the tractor more often, till the ground
more often? Is it that alternative? Assuming they are going to rotate crops, which good farmers are going to do, is that the choice
that they face? Is it that basic?
Mr. WELLER. One thing I would like to add to what Dr.
Mortensen said
Mr. JORDAN. Add to it, but then answer my question.
Mr. WELLER. Yes. Then I will answer your question. It is not totally true, it is true in the sense that there has never been a genetically engineered crop prior to Roundup that allowed you to use
an herbicide in it. But in the case of corn, corn is naturally tolerant
to atrazine. So in fact, we had a crop on the market, I mean an
herbicide on the market that the crop was in essence resistant to
a long time before 1996. Because atrazine has been on the market
since about 1956, I believe.
Mr. JORDAN. It was naturally resistant?
Mr. WELLER. It was naturally resistant. The natural resistance
is based on corn metabolizing the herbicide into an inactive form.
The weeds cant do that.
Mr. JORDAN. OK.
Mr. WELLER. So we did have some experience. And when we got
the atrazine resistance, to me, we have many of the same issues
with all of the different types of herbicide resistances that we have
dealt with in general. We developed a whole toolbox of weed management techniques from before we had herbicides until after we
had herbicides. This includes some form of tillage, or even before
tractors, hand hoeing, crop rotation, so you crop, and Dave is much
more of an expert on this than I am, but certain weeds are more
likely to be a problem in some crops than others. So you might rotate to a more competitive crop to get rid of those.
So integrated weed management is the approach to deal with all
weed problems. In the case of herbicide resistance, and it goes back
to Chairman Kucinichs comment, yes, the approach from a chemical standpoint is tank mixes of herbicides. In the case of atrazineresistant cory, we always used these chlorosetamide type of herbicides, trade names were Lasso, Dual. And they are all soil-applied.

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And those got rid of most of the weeds that were not being controlled by atrazine.
So in the case of glyphosate, we have seen an increase in preemergence herbicides applied. You can say all herbicides are toxic
if you want to put it that way. But most of the herbicides that have
come on the market since the 1980s generally are relatively non,
lower toxicity than some of the older compounds. 2,4-D and
Dicamba would be two of the older compounds.
So tank mixtures, crop rotations, addressing weeds with different
management techniques is the way we have always dealt with
weeds, whether they are resistant or not, so that they dont buildup
and become a problem. The novelty of this is, we had this herbicide, as you asked me, it was infallible, well, it wasnt infallible.
People thought it was. They applied only that. We had Roundup
Ready crops, corn, soybeans. Those were rotated. They used Roundup. Bad management.
Wasnt the crops fault. It was the managements fault, my feeling.
Mr. JORDAN. So it is not as basic as I described, where they are
going to have to choose one option or the other. It is a comprehensive integrated approach is the best way to handle this all?
Mr. WELLER. Yes.
Mr. JORDAN. You are not advocating weI mean, farmers are
going to use herbicide. If they have to go to something else, there
is a cost associated with that, frankly, maybe less yields, etc., that
may be associated with that. So it is a comprehensive integrated
approach.
Mr. WELLER. Well, and the one negative in the glyphosate case,
glyphosate-resistant crops allowed us to go to massive acreages of
no-till. So we met a lot of the rules and regulations about tillage.
We may have to, as Dave mentioned earlier, some types of minimal
tillage could play a role in that again. We have to consider what
the economic and the environmental aspect of those practices are.
Mr. JORDAN. Do our professors and our farmer, do you share the
same criticism of the agency that Mr. Kimbrell does? And maybe
give the committee a little insight into the approval process both
the EPA has for the herbicide and USDA has for the engineered
crops? Elaborate on that if you will.
Mr. ROUSH. I am certainly no expert on any of that. I deal with
the ramifications of what comes down the pike, of course. And I see
the ramifications of what is coming down the pike, and that is my
concern.
Mr. JORDAN. Professor.
Mr. OWEN. I am very much unfamiliar with the specifics that are
referenced. But I have followed this a little bit. When we are working with regulated materials, we follow whatever requirements are
placed upon us. But as far as how the agency behaves otherwise,
I honestly dont know.
Mr. JORDAN. Let me do one thing. Mr. Mortensen has advocated
a tax on herbicides, I believe, in one of his four or five suggestions.
Do the rest of you share that? I mean, I would point out that the
one sector of our overall economy that is doing relatively well is agriculture. Profits were up, we had a figure, net farm income is forecast to be $63 billion this year $6.7 billion or 11 percent, almost

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12 percent increase from last year. So that is one sector of our
economy that is looking pretty good.
Would you advocate taxing herbicides and putting that additional cost on agriculture?
Mr. OWEN. Absolutely not.
Mr. JORDAN. Mr. Weller.
Mr. WELLER. I agree, no.
Mr. JORDAN. And lets talk to the farmer.
Mr. ROUSH. Sure, as long as the funds were properly allocated
to public research.
Mr. JORDAN. Mr. Kimbrell.
Mr. KIMBRELL. Yes, I just want to, whatever the issue, yes or no
on tax, I think it would be a shame if that cloud over the central
point of Professor Mortensens, which is that we need Federal funding for independent, university research, independent university
research, to track the emergence of these weeds. We do not have
that database. That is the database we all were looking for. It
seems to me that the tax, maybe there has to be some funding
mechanism. I am not sure tax is it.
But lets not forget that this is a really important area, where
university researchers could be invaluable in helping us track the
emergence of this growing crisis.
Mr. MORTENSEN. And understand if you will the program that I
chaired last year, I spent my own time down in D.C. chairing the
national research program in weed and invasive organisms. It was
eliminated 4 months ago. The 406 funds that fund weed science
and integrated pest management research were eliminated about a
month ago.
There is no public sector funding, or very limited. There is a critical issues program that was recently established. But it is not
going near far enough to address the kinds of things we have been
discussing today. And I am confident and certain that it will not
be done by the companies.
Mr. OWEN. And I would be, if I may, unless we take with the research the opportunity to extend that information to the growers,
because research without information and transmittal of information is of no value. So extension is also a very important component.
Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman. We are going to, Ms. Kaptur has kindly yielded to Mr. Foster. You are recognized.
Mr. FOSTER. Thank you so much. I apologize, I may have to jump
out for votes in a different committee.
My first question, is it unambiguous, is the biochemical mechanism for the glyphosate resistance in the superweeds identical or
different from the mechanism in the GM traits? And is there any
ambiguity about whether or not this thing could have been, the
gene could have jumped? Or is it absolutely clear to everyone that
the gene did not jump, it was independently evolved?
Mr. WELLER. There are, I believe, three cases of weeds that have
developed a certain level of resistance to glyphosate due to an alteration in the amino acid sequence on the enzyme that glyphosate
inhibits. Two of those weeds are in Australia. They are rigid ryegrass and Lolium. And the third weed is goosegrass, which is in

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Malaysia. So to my knowledge, none of the weeds in the United
States have this alteration at the site of the action.
In the case of the weeds in the United States, much of it is unknown, the specific mechanisms. But in the case of, at least the
palmer amaranth that was examined in Georgia, and that doesnt
mean they are all this way, but people assume it is, it has more
of the enzyme that glyphosate inhibits. So it has like 150 times as
many copies of the EPSP synthase enzyme. You cant put enough
glyphosate on it to kill it.
In the case of several others, it has been shown that the
glyphosate, there is limited translocation to growing points. And
that is where the plant is injured, but it starts re-growing.
Mr. FOSTER. My apologies. I do have to disappear for a vote. I
will give you a couple of questions for the record.
Mr. WELLER. Sure.
Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Schock, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCHOCK. Thank you. I have been very interested by all of
your comments. As I mentioned in my opening statement, there
doesnt seem to be a whole lot of disagreement on the panel about
what is happening. We have weeds throughout our history of farming that become immune to the herbicides that are used against
them. And in the case of farmers who do not provide, who do not
participate in crop rotation and rotation of their herbicides and
pesticides that are used, the problem is exacerbated. Does anybody
disagree with that?
Mr. MORTENSEN. I think, at least I seem to be the outlier here
of the three weed scientists on this point. One of the, to me, a really important distinction is that we have an herbicide that we basically can use in just, well, certainly in Midwest, year after year
now, because we have, unlike the case where you could use
atrazine in corn and you had resistance, and weeds in corn, you go
to soybeans and you dont use atrazine, and you are not selecting
for the weed population year in and year out.
The thing that is unique about this is that we are using this
compound a lot. And there are more registrations that are in review right now for other crops to be added where the same active
ingredient that can be used
Mr. SCHOCK. Let me interrupt then. And I agree.
My question would be this, then. Would you agree that if it is
being done year after year after year with the same crop, year after
year after year, that would be contradictory to the EPA label found
on the product and best practices for crop rotation and weed management?
Mr. MORTENSEN. I would agree that would not be a good thing.
Mr. OWEN. Truthfully, any practice that is repeated recurrently,
whether it be tillage or no tillage, or herbicide, and we have history
where we used the same mechanism of action on both crops, corn
and soybean, in the 1980s, with the ALS inhibitors. But anything
that you do recurrently is going to cause a shift in the weed population to allow something that doesnt respond to whatever it is
that you are doing to become the dominant feature of a particular
crop field.

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Mr. SCHOCK. Professor Mortensen, first let me say this. I think
what I was trying, and the point that I made in my opening statement was that it makes sense for farmers to do what is right. Obviously to invoke best practices, to follow the EPA prescribed guidelines on the chemicals that are being used, vis-a-vis the crops that
are being planted. And really, by and large, this problem can be
mitigated through proper farming techniques.
Now, as I mentioned, we have bad actors. We have people who
dont follow it. And as a result, 0.08 percent of our worlds farm
ground is being affected by so-called superweeds, or herbicide-resistant weeds. Now, I am not suggesting that 0.08 percent of farm
ground is insignificant. But what I am suggesting is that some of
the prescriptions for the cure I would argue are worse than the disease itself.
I want to focus on your recommendations, Mr. Mortensen. Specifically, I have read your five recommendations. And No. 3 suggests that the Government should ensure farm level herbicide management planning.
How does the Government ensure farm level herbicide management planning?
Mr. MORTENSEN. There would be actually several ways that it
could be done. Right now, the B.t. is regulated at the farm level,
which is for insect resistance management. We could easily imagine a case where the amount of glyphosate, for example, that is
sold for a certain number of acres that a farmer is farming would
be something that you would keep track of and not have somebody
have enough of the glyphosate that it is going to be used on the
entire farm.
You could require, as is the case with CAFO requirements for
water quality, insurance, as in my own State, where there are
dairy farms, where you are concerned about water quality issues.
We have rules where farmers have to have a water quality soil
management plan in place. I dont see any reason why we couldnt
have a pest management plan in place at the farm level.
Mr. SCHOCK. The chairman has very politely informed me that
my time is expired.
Mr. KUCINICH. We are going to have another round.
Mr. SCHOCK. All I would say, now that my time is expired, is I
think that it would be far more effective for us to promote education as the form of encouragement to farmers to prohibit this as
opposed to additional regulation and Government involvement. I
yield back.
Mr. KUCINICH. I thank the gentleman. We are going to have another round and you will be welcome to participate in it.
The Chair recognizes Ms. Kaptur.
Mr. KAPTUR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much, for holding
this extremely important hearing. I wish to place in the record,
with unanimous consent, an article, if it has not been placed in the
record by other Members, that was in the New York Times on May
4th, entitled The Rise of the Superweeds.
Mr. KUCINICH. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]

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Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you. I will just read one statement from Andrew Wargo, III, President of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, that the impact of these genetically resistant
weeds is the single largest threat to production agriculture that
we have ever seen. That is interesting for someone from the State
of Arkansas, but the article goes on and it mentions many of the
concerns we have been talking about here today.
Let me just state for the record that I have legislation that I
would also like to place on the record here, H.R. 3299, I have reintroduced in this Congress, called the Seed Saver Legislation, to
allow farmers to save their seeds and to actually pay royalties to
the Department of Agriculture at levels that they assess, not to the
seed companies. And incredible concentration in the seed market
has priced many of our farmers out of the market and given seed
companies, not the seed dealers, unnatural control over who holds
the power of life.
While this is not the primary purpose of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, I would like some of the panelists to comment here on the
incredible concentration of the seed market and the market-manipulating actions of these companies. I wanted to ask Mr. Roush if
in fact he has to pay technology fees when you purchase your
seeds, and also, do you have the ability to harvest the seeds that
you purchase?
[The information referred to follows:]

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Mr. ROUSH. I think you mean do I have the ability to retain or
keep the seeds?
Ms. KAPTUR. Yes.
Mr. ROUSH. No, I do not.
Ms. KAPTUR. I dont think most Members of Congress really understand this.
Mr. ROUSH. I dont think they understand the issue at all. The
Supreme Court has usurped the law of the land, which is the Plant
Variety Protection Act. And I will leave it at that.
Ms. KAPTUR. I wanted to mention, in terms of Mr. Kimbrells testimony, that APHIS funding levels in the recent 2011 budget provided an additional $6 million to assess the risks of genetically
modified organisms for the Biotechnology Regulatory Service. The
budget provides about $19 million for the overall services there
within APHIS, to assess the risks of forthcoming genetically modified organisms. This is an increase compared to the prior year.
I am wondering if you are stating that is not sufficient. I just
want to understand what you are saying about the budgetary levels
of USDA.
Mr. KIMBRELL. Yes, and if I may, I cannot resist commenting on
the first thing you brought up. It is true right now that Monsanto
owns 25 percent of the worlds commercial seeds, together with
Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and Dupont, they own almost 50 percent of
all the worlds commercial seeds. We have seen a massive and significant rise in the cost of corn.
Mr. KAPTUR. If the gentleman would yield, I dont think the
American people really understand that the seeds of life are now
controlled by chemical companies for the most part.
Mr. KIMBRELL. Yes, and I think that the manner in which they
control them is through acquisition of seed companies, through patenting of those seeds, through genetic engineering of those seeds,
and through potentially something called terminator technology,
which would be a technology which has the seeds basically infertile
after one growing season. So we are facing a hidden crisis in seed
diversity, we are letting a few chemical companies decide which
seeds on the earth are going to be available to farmers, which are
not.
If this were water or oil, we would realize the crisis we are in.
I just want to undergird what you are saying, I think it is terribly
important.
Mr. KAPTUR. If you have recommendations, or Mr. Roush, on
what we might do about that through your organizations, I hope
you will get back to us on that.
Mr. KIMBRELL. Yes. Thank you. And as far as, to me the problem, and I really should, I can get back to the subcommittee on
this, to me the problem with appropriations is not as important as
the problem of exactly who the agency seems to be serving. And
having witnessed these five litigations, all lost by APHIS, having
looked at the IG and the GAO report and the Farm Bill, it seems
to me that the USDA, now with this administration as well, but
certainly in the last administration, is bending over backward to
find excuses not to do an Environmental Impact Statement, excuses not to look at the economic harm. And to this day refusing
even to look at the issue which is the central issue of this hearing.

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So regardless, if they have the money and they are not spending
it actually doing the work they have to do, it seems to me that is
the problem. Whether that is actually adequate to do that job,
somebody else would have to say. But again, I want to re-emphasize and say here, I certainly do not like to see the agency relying
solely on the information being given by the companies. I would
certainly think that one way to spend that money would be to get
independent, university researchers like some of the people on this
panel to really look at the emergence of these superweeds and give
us the kind of information we need, and then put that in the Environmental Impact Statement.
Ms. KAPTUR. I read you loud and clear on that.
I know my time is expired, Mr. Chairman, but I do want to ask
Mr. Roush, what fee on Roundup Ready soybeans do you have to
pay per year?
Mr. ROUSH. That is unclear . It is buried in the price of the seed.
It quite frankly depends on whether or not it is generation 1 or
generation 2 Roundup Ready. It is very unclear.
Mr. KUCINICH. I am going to have to interrupt. There is a vote
in progress. We are going to have to go.
I thank the gentlelady, the gentleladys time is expired. I am
going to recess this hearing until about a quarter after 4, and we
will come back for the next round of questions.
[Recess.]
Mr. KUCINICH. The committee will come to order.
I want to thank the members of the panel for their presence, and
for their patience. We had four votes, and now I am going to do
the best I can to get through a few other questions. We have about
another 15 minutes worth of questions, and I am going to begin.
Professors Owen and Weller, in your written testimony, both of
you identify farm mis-management as the main culprit in causing
herbicide resistance in weeds. Staff, will you distribute an exhibit
to the witnesses?
While it is being distributed, I am going to read the text in case
you cant see it. It says, researchers also found no benefit in rotating glyphosate with other herbicides. The important finding is
that telling growers to use glyphosate 1 year and not the next year
has no advantage over using glyphosate every year at recommended rates. Dr. Wilson said, The concept of rotating
glyphosate with alternative chemistries hasnt proven any more effective than just properly applying glyphosate. Following 7 years
of research, Dr. Wilson says the basic message remains unchanged:
dont cut the recommended rate of Roundup.
So here is Monsanto telling farmers to use more and more
Roundup and to use it exclusively to control weeds. That was only
5 years ago. Isnt it true that if farmers followed the advice Monsanto was giving, they would have Roundup-resistant weeds in
their fields today?
Mr. OWEN. Yes.
Mr. KUCINICH. Anyone else?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes.
Mr. ROUSH. I received that advice, and yes.
Mr. KUCINICH. Professor Mortensen, Monsanto made a lot of
money with farmers following that advice. Isnt it true that

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Monsantos Roundup Ready seeds and Roundup herbicide virtually
took over the market and that is what exerted natural selection
pressure on weeds to select for resistance to Roundup?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes, it is.
Mr. KUCINICH. Professors Owen and Weller, to resolve the problem of herbicide resistance in weeds going forward, you both put
your faith in public education to inform farmer decisions. That
sounds a lot like the plan that got us into the problem we currently
have. At what point would your policy recommendations expand
from a sole reliance on public education efforts? In your view, is
there ever a role for Federal regulation? Professor Owen?
Mr. OWEN. I think there has to be a role for regulation at some
point. In trying to envision this and anticipating the question before I arrived here, I was basically at loggerheads trying to figure
out how that could be actually implemented. Because I see what
has been relatively effective in my opinion with regard to IRM, insect resistance management.
But the biology of the insects and the biology of the weeds are
so much different that I am having trouble seeing how that type
of regulatory action would have any impact.
Mr. KUCINICH. Professor Weller.
Mr. WELLER. I agree with Dr. Owen, when he says the difference
between insects and weeds. From my perspective, from a regulatory role, I would like to see what people would come up with as
far as the basis for that. The comment on education is, to provide
the grower with scientific-backed facts about what are the best
ways to manage weeds. We know what happened when farmers followed the recommendations from Monsanto, Roundup, Roundup,
Roundup. It is not good. We knew that. And I think from our point
of view, we did counter that from the university point of view.
But I think the other comment that many farmers believed it,
and it did make their weed control quite efficient for several years,
until the selection pressure resulted in weeds that werent as well
controlled.
Mr. KUCINICH. Well, here is the point that I am making. How far
along do you keep saying, well, use public education, what happens
if you reach the point of infestation that is predicted by Syngenta
scientists, 38 million acres of row crops? Do we still talk public
education?
Mr. WELLER. From my perspective, that Syngenta comment is
based on using only Roundup, not using an integrated weed management approach.
Mr. KUCINICH. OK. Good point.
Mr. WELLER. That would result in exactly the catastrophe that
we have been talking about today.
Mr. KUCINICH. So what would be the tipping point to consider
other policies, even a Federal role? And of mitigating the spread of
herbicide-resistant weeds?
Mr. WELLER. I think one thing we have learned in the last 5
years, and Mike and I have been involved in a six-State study looking at weed management in Roundup Ready crops and other rotations, we have seen a change in farmers approaches to management based on a lot of the best management practices that have
been coming out from the universities.

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Whether you can force farmers to do that without regulation, I
dont know.
Mr. KUCINICH. Professor Owen, did you want to jump in on that
one?
Mr. OWEN. Yes, I did. Dr. Weller makes a good point: can you
force farmers to change? I dont think so. Even if you could, I dont
know how you would enforce it. Your point about how far do we
wait, well, we should have been doing this all along. A number of
us made those recommendations and continue to make those recommendations. For example, in Iowa, we have approximately 1.25
FTEs dedicated to extension and weed science.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask Professor Mortensen to jump in here.
At what point, Professor, do you think it is time for the USDA and
the EPA to step in with regulations aimed at preventing the spread
of herbicide resistance in weeds?
Mr. MORTENSEN. I am of the opinion that this is, I think we are
at that point. So I am of the opinion, being invited to come down
here, I spent the better part of the past week reading and just sort
of polishing up on some things to get ready to come down here. I
actually am surprised at the extent, and I knew about the species
count. I have been following that closely, from an ecology point of
view that interested me a lot.
But I wasnt aware of the number of sites and the number of
acres infested. I was actually honestly surprised at the high figures
that I came up with that also corroborate figures that Ian Heap,
the reported expert on this internationally, has been coming up
with as well. I think we are at that point.
And the other thing that I echo the concern that Troy expressed
about the solution from the companies point of view is pretty far
down the tracks. The gene insert train is on the tracks. I was at
the University of Nebraska when we hired the director of the
biotech center, who is Don Weeks, who is the person who received
the patent at the University of Nebraska for the Dicamba gene.
That was a contractual arrangement with Monsanto. And that was
published in a 2007 science paper announcing this discovery.
We are 3 to 4 years away from seeing these crops planted in the
field. Glyphosate Dicamba, glyphosate 2,4-D, and there has been
very little discussion, there has been very little science, there is not
near enough communication between EPA and APHIS about this,
in fact, very little. I was invited down to EPA to talk about work
we are doing on this subject about 4 months ago. The talk we gave
was piped out across to all the EPA labs across the country. And
it is clear that there is not enough communication between EPA
and APHIS on how this is all progressing.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me ask you about the USDA. Is it in the longterm interest of farmers for the USDA to continue approving new
glyphosate-resistant crops, like Roundup Ready alfalfa and sugar
beets, in the complete absence of effective resistant management
plans?
Mr. MORTENSEN. No.
Mr. KUCINICH. And then Mr. Roush, I think that many people
would want to believe that farmers are able to solve the problems
of herbicide resistance in weeds on their own as a farmer. Do you
agree with that?

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Mr. ROUSH. No, absolutely not. We are working on advice from
largely industry only The public sector, our public research is dead,
it is decimated. So we are taking the advice of the people that are
selling these compounds. And it is really frustrating. I got the impression early on that in a lot of ways, it feels like us farmers are
being blamed for this issue. And yet we are working on advice from
industry. It is exacerbating the problem.
Mr. KUCINICH. Let me turn the question a little bit. In your opinion, as a farmer, is it in the long-term interest of farmers to leave
the Government off the hook for responsibility to prevent proliferation of superweeds?
Mr. ROUSH. I am kind of reluctant on that superweed, but resistant weed, I accept that term. No. It is not. Government has a role,
if nothing else, in research and education. But even the potential
solution is a bigger concern. I have stated repeatedly that I believe
the solution to glyphosate-resistant weeds is worse than the problem. I would rather have the weeds than the Dicamba that they
are proposing to solve the problem with.
Mr. KUCINICH. Just one final question here. Is there any lessons
to be learned from, if any of you know this, Australia had some experience with herbicide resistance. And if any of you know about
that and you would like to comment on that, what lessons could
be learned? We have a video here.
[Video shown.]
Mr. KUCINICH. So are you familiar with Australia, Professor
Owen?
Mr. OWEN. Yes, I am.
Mr. KUCINICH. And do you agree with Professor Powells that the
Australian catastrophe of glyphosate-resistant weeds affecting half
a continent is now unfolding here?
Mr. OWEN. I would not agree with him to the extent that we
have the same system. They have a very unique agricultural system in western Australia and in the agricultural areas. There are
lessons to be learned from the experience in Australia. But we have
a much more diverse agriculture than they have. Thus, we have a
lot more opportunities to manage this by incorporating different
technologies that are currently available.
Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you.
Professor Mortensen, did you want to comment?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes. I think there are, I agree with Mike that
the cropping systems in Australia are simpler. But one of the
things that we explored in a recent paper that we published is that
when you make the weed management that you are doing, which
is the use of glyphosate, very similar year in and year out, actually
in some ways we are not unlike that broad acre farming in Australia. Because what the problem in Australia is is that they are
using much the same practices year after year. We are moving in
that direction here.
Mr. KUCINICH. So you are saying down the road this could pose
some implications that Australia is experiencing?
Mr. MORTENSEN. Yes.
Mr. KUCINICH. Are you familiar with Australia, Mr. Roush?
Mr. ROUSH. I have spent some time there, if you are asking. I
have spent some time in Australia, yes.

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Mr. KUCINICH. Are you familiar with their herbicide-resistance
problem?
Mr. ROUSH. Yes, but here again, I am not a scientist, so I cant
speak to it.
Mr. WELLER. Can I say something? I agree with Mike and David
to a large degree. But I think the important point that Mike made
was the cropping diversity allows us also to have a diverse array
of herbicides that they dont have. There about 11 mechanisms of
action of herbicide, most of which we can use in our corn, soybeans
and cotton if they are registered. Whereas in Australia, they tend
to be mostly in grain crops, more wheat, crops like that, which
dont allow quite the diversity.
And the other thing, if I could talk for just one more minute,
when you think about regulations, I think we have to think thoroughly what kind of program are we going to come up with. At this
point, I think back to our education and the basis of research-generated knowledge, we need more funding to do those types of
things, because I think right now the type of solution, if it is legislated or not, what we have is, what kind of cropping approaches
with tank mixes of different herbicides are we going to come up
with to require people to use.
I think we really want to get back more to a sustainable approach, are there non-chemical approaches, are there cover crops
that can be used, are there alterations in tillage, and what are the
herbicides that best fit into those systems to make it sustainable.
I think that is what has to be thought through with regulations or
not.
Mr. KUCINICH. I want to thank each of the witnesses. This has
been a very important panel, the first one that Congress has held
on this subject. This is something that has great implications for
American agriculture and for people who make a living working
the land.
So we honor the generations of working the land that your family
has done, Mr. Roush, and just know that your presence here is
very helpful. All the scientists who are here, and the years that you
have spent in studying this, this subcommittee is very grateful for
your presence. It helps us to look with a depth of knowledge into
this issue.
We are going to continue to assert jurisdiction over this. There
will be another hearing in September.
I am Dennis Kucinich, Chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of Oversight and Government Reform. Todays hearing has been
Are Superweeds, as we call it, an Outgrowth of the USDA
Biotech Policy? This is Part 1 of our inspection hearing. We have
had a list of distinguished panelists and are very grateful for their
presence here. This subcommittee stands adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 4:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional information submitted for the hearing record follows:]

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